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The Eastern Fellows Program

Eastern FellowsThe Eastern Connecticut State University Fellows program is designed to recognize Eastern alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers. This program is a means of enriching the educational experience of current Eastern undergraduates by exposing them to alumni who are willing to share their specialized academic and work experience from a realistic perspective. The Eastern Fellows program is an exciting and stimulating way to blend the interests of the accomplished professional, the student and the professor.

Eastern Fellows are selected by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement in consultation with the three deans. They are invited to return to campus to meet in the classroom and informally with students, faculty, and administrators. They are honored in recognition of the ultimate measure of a top notch liberal arts university - the quality of its alumni.

Class of 2009

  • Adam Baldinger '88 - Biology 
  • Dr. Wendy Ernst '93, DVM - Biology 
  • Fred Johnson '78 - Environmental Earth Science 
  • Eric Lazo-Wasem '79 - Biology

Class of 2010

  • Jeffrey Brown '79 - Public Policy and Government 
  • Brett Harnett '84 - Business Administration
  • Kathleen Weidman '79 - Economics and Business Administration

Class of 2011

  • Rob Nieto '96 - Communication 
  • Carol Pandiscia '89 - Communication 
  • Paul Provost '97 - Political Science

Class of 2012

  • Dr. Wendy Daly '75 -Psychology 
  • Dr. Carla Goodwin '69 - Elementary Education
  • Tim White '81 - Earth Science

Class of 2013

  • Kathy Gentilozzi '81 - Elementary Education
  • Kathleen Kennedy '74 - Sociology and Applied Social Relations

Class of 2014

  • Dr. Robert Hacker '86 - Biology 
  • William Kelly '82 - Public Policy and Government

Class of 2015

  • Brian Bohling '83 - Business Administration 
  • Dr. Michael Johnson '97 - Biology 
  • David Whitehead '84 - Business Administration

Dr. Class of 2016

  • Janice Deskus '88 - Psychology 
  • Michael Endler '81 - Public Policy and Government 
  • Frederick Hughes '87 - Business Administration

Class of 2017

  • Tracey Boyden '89 - Biology
  • Cynthia L. Konney '77 - Environmental Earth Science 
  • Andrew R. Zlotnick '85 - Environmental Earth Science

Class of 2018

  • Jim Girard '97 - Business Administration
  • Anne Iezzi '79 - Sociology and Applied Social Relations
  • Andrew Mitchel '89 - Economics

Class of 2019

  • Charlotte Braziel '80 - Public Policy and Government
  • Dr. Raymond Hill, Jr. '83 - Mathematics
  • Shawn Meaike '95 - Sociology & Applied Social Relations

Class of 2020

  • Cody Guarnieri '09 - History & Social Science and Political Science
  • Dr. Justin Piro ’05- Biochemistry
  • Dr. Laurens “Larry” Smith ’77- Biology


  • Dr. Núñez flanked by the 12th class of Eastern Fellows (L-R): Cody Guarnieri ‘09, Esq., Dr. Larry Smith ‘77 and Dr. Justin Piro ‘05 

    Cody Guarnieri ’09 - History & Social Science and Political Science

    Cody Guarnieri, a trial lawyer whose practice focuses on criminal defense and personal injury litigation, was elected to partnership with the law firm of Brown, Paindiris & Scott just six years after graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2012. Guarnieri has handled cases in nearly every courthouse in Connecticut, including trials to verdict before both judges and juries.  He has defended adults and juveniles accused of various offenses — including violent sexual assaults, bank robberies and murders — in state and federal courts. In his personal injury and civil litigation practice, Guarnieri has brought class action lawsuits on behalf of consumers, employees and others, including one of the first against Volkswagen based on the defective clean diesel "TDI" line of automobiles.

    Guarnieri has been recognized as a top criminal defense lawyer every year since 2015, when he was named a “Rising Star” in criminal defense by Super Lawyers, an online service that recognizes the best lawyers in the country. The service’s website now identifies him as a “Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer.”  Guarnieri also carries the highest possible rating, 10 out of 10, by, another national lawyer reference and rating service.

    He is currently the vice-chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, co-chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Hartford County Bar Association and was recently elected as the James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. Guarnieri is also a member of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association as well as other legal associations.

    Guarnieri graduated magna cum laude from Eastern while earning B.A. degrees in his two majors, history and social science and political science. He was inducted into the honor societies for history, political science and leadership, was an Honor Scholar. and was a member of the Honors Club, History Club and Pre-Law Society. At UConn law school, Guarnieri graduated with honors, served as executive director of the Connecticut Moot Court Board and was articles editor of the Connecticut Public Interest Journal.

    In his spare time, he writes regularly for the Catholic Transcript, the publication of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. When he served as president of the Hartford Rotary Club in 2015, he was the youngest president in its 100-plus year history. Guarnieri has also served as an alternate on the Planning and Zoning Commission in South Windsor, where he lives with his wife Julianne, son Daniel and daughter Saoirse.

    Dr. Justin Piro ’05 - Biochemistry

    Since earning a Ph.D. at Dartmouth Medical School while conducting research centered on the molecular underpinnings of prion diseases, Justin Piro has worked in pharmaceutical industry to advance scientific knowledge and develop therapies for neurologic injuries and disorders as well as neurodegenerative diseases. 

    Piro’s research in discovering the causes, effects and treatments for such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, stroke and epilepsy has been done while working for two major U.S. pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Abbvie. He is currently Principal Research Scientist at Abbvie’s Foundational Neuroscience Center in Cambridge, MA. He previously worked within the Neuroscience Research Unit at Pfizer.

    Piro has authored and co‑authored numerous scientific papers on his discoveries and advances, presented his work at regional, national and international conferences, and successfully transitioned his work from a concept into a phase 1 clinical study during a postdoctoral fellowship at Pfizer.

    A biochemistry major at Eastern, Piro graduated in 2005 cum laude and was an Honor Scholar.  His intensive laboratory work at Eastern led to his appointment for two summers conducting research at the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Wesleyan University as a Howard Hughes Fellow. At Dartmouth Medical School his research centered on how “misfolded” forms of prion proteins propagate within the brain and manifest into severe and rapid neurodegeneration. In the postdoctoral fellowship at Pfizer that followed, Piro’s work centered on identifying novel and druggable pathways that contribute to neuroinflammation. This work led to development of small molecule inhibitors and ultimately to the clinical study.  He also led several preclinical programs at Pfizer.

    Piro now manages a multi-site, multi-disciplinary team at Abbvie focused on neuroimmunology. His team studies how the immune system of the brain reacts to disease and then seeks to reverse maladaptive responses with the goal of slowing or halting disease progression. The work involves applying a variety of modalities, including traditional small-molecule chemistry as well as large-molecule biologics.

    His work for both Pfizer and Abbvie has been based within Kendal Square in Cambridge, MA, and he lives outside the city in historic Concord with his wife Erin, daughter Sloan and son Colton.

    Dr. Laurens “Larry” Smith ’77 - Biology

    Laurens “Larry” Smith ’77, a scholar, researcher, college professor and longtime senior university administrator, is capping his noteworthy academic career as one of the highest-level administrators in the Utah State University (USU) system, home to more than 28,000 students.

    In May 2019, Smith was appointed Interim Vice President of Statewide Campuses at USU, a position that makes him responsible for oversight of eight regional campuses in the Utah State system and 25 other educational centers in small towns throughout the state. As statewide vice president, Smith manages the central statewide campus system and works with associate vice presidents who oversee the regional campuses to help them manage student enrollment, operations, budget, personnel and community engagement.

    Before assuming his new role, Smith served as interim Vice President of Research, and before that had been Interim Provost for 19 months after the then-Provost was selected as Utah State’s new president. Up to that point, Smith had been serving as USU’s Executive Senior Vice Provost, the second highest-level person carrying a provost title, for nearly a decade. Smith had also served as Interim Dean of the School of Graduate Studies from 2003-05. 

    After graduating from Eastern with a B.A. in biology, Smith earned a master’s degree in physiology at the University of Kansas in 1979, then went to the University of Maryland for his doctorate. His doctoral work focused on cell membrane physiology. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1985, Smith held three postdoctoral research positions, one at the UConn Medical Center in Farmington.

    His faculty career began at Idaho State University (ISU) in 1989. There, he taught human physiology and anatomy, animal physiology, and graduate courses in cell biology and molecular science. He was the founding director of a federally-funded campus Molecular Research Core Facility and became increasingly involved in administrative and leadership roles. After 14 years at ISU, he moved to Utah State to assume administrative duties there.

    Smith and his wife Carol von Dohlen, a biology professor at USU, live in Cove, UT. Their daughter Clara graduated from Macalester College in 2018, and their son Ethan is a senior at Dartmouth College. Time permitting, Smith is an avid fly fisherman, skier and hobby vintner.

  • With President Núñez, the 11th class of Eastern Fellows are Dr. Raymond Hill, Jr. '83, Charlotte Braziel '80, and Shawn Meaike '95. 

    Charlotte Braziel ’80- Public Policy and Government

    Charlotte Braziel served 26 years as a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she handled a variety of assignments and retired only because she reached what was then the mandatory retirement age. She was based in Florida as an agent, but was involved in international travel for special assignments with the bureau.

    Ms. Braziel’s current career has three elements that draw on her multi-faceted FBI experience — she has her own investigative consulting business, she teaches criminal justice at St. Leo University near her South Florida home, and she served on a South Florida cold case task force until it was recently dissolved. In 2016, she became a full-time faculty member at St. Leo, where about 10 percent of students pursue a major in Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services. While her FBI career was related to investigating and preparing criminal cases for prosecution, in her current business she assists and advises defense attorneys.

    Among her assignments as an FBI Special Agent were cases involving organized crime, bank and health care fraud, and domestic and foreign terrorism. She also developed expertise in cases involving bank robbery, environmental crime, espionage, weapons of mass destruction and more.

    Ms. Braziel earned her M.B.A. at Sacred Heart and, more recently, another master’s degree in criminal justice at St. Leo.  

    As head of Braziel & Associates, LLC, her consulting work with defense attorneys calls on some of those same areas of expertise but on the other side of legal prosecutions from what she worked on for nearly three decades. “In some way I wish I’d worked the defense side first, as it would have exposed me to the other side, thereby making me a more effective agent,” she has said.

    At St. Leo, Ms. Braziel teaches courses in crime scene investigation and criminal justice ethics and a survey course in the criminal justice system — a total of four per semester.

    She also takes time to serve as a guardian ad litem and is a keeper for breeder dogs in a system that trains their puppies as service dogs for the blind and visually impaired and people with PTSD.  She keeps the mother dogs at her home, except when they go with the puppies to begin their training. When the females can no longer produce litters, she will have the option to keep them as her pets.

    Dr. Raymond R. Hill Jr. ’83 - Mathematics

    Raymond Hill is Professor of Operations Research in the Graduate School of Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). He teaches graduate-level courses in statistics and mathematical modeling, and conducts research to support U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense needs while advising Air Force and Army graduate students pursuing master’s and doctorate degrees. Prior to re-joining AFIT in 2008, he was a Professor of Industrial Engineering at Wright State University in Dayton, OH.

    Dr. Hill began his academic career in 1997, joining AFIT as a Major in the U.S. Air Force. Over the course of his academic career, he has published nearly 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 250 technical works. He has advised more than 150 graduate projects at the master’s and Ph.D. levels, while being involved in another 125. Dr. Hill has managed more than $7.9 million in research funding, is the principle lead investigator for an eight-university research consortium, is an associate editor for six journals, and a co-editor for the Journal of Defense Analytics and Logistics.

    Dr. Hill’s awards include excellence in research awards from The Military Operations Research Society (2000), AFIT (2001), Wright State University (2007), and the Dayton Affiliates Society (2016). He has teaching awards from AFIT (2011) and the Southern Ohio Council of Higher Education (2014). In 2016 he won the Air Force Science and Engineering Educator Award and was the 2016 Air Education and Training Command nominee for the Air Force Senior Analyst of the Year award.  Dr. Hill’s military awards include three Commendation and three Meritorious Service medals.

    He grew up in Franklin, CT, graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1976, and enlisted in the U. S. Air Force. After his first stint in the Air Force he attended Eastern Connecticut State University, earning his B.S. in Mathematics, summa cum laude, and was the Senior Academic Award winner in 1983. After a short stint with the MACSEA Ltd, he was commissioned as an Air Force officer, and retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2003 after 23 years of total active duty service. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University. His wife Christy, children Tina (husband Daryl), Jason and Tiffany, and grandchildren Keagan, Graham, Liam and Lily all live in Dayton, OH. 

    Shawn Meaike ’95 - Sociology & Applied Social Relations

    Shawn Meaike has an appetite for hard work and an entrepreneurial drive that can be traced back all the way to his Eastern days. Mr. Meaike graduated with a degree in Applied Social Relations, which led to a career in the state Department of Children and Families, where he worked for more than 13 years. Meanwhile, Mr. Meaike’s ambition remained, and his entrepreneurial drive led him to launch S & T Properties in the early 2000’s. Becoming a general contractor led Mr. Meaike to invest in multiple residential properties, purchasing about a dozen rental properties to provide affordable homes to people all across Eastern Connecticut.

    In late 2013, after countless hours of hard work and perseverance, Mr. Meaike launched Family First Life, currently a multi-million dollar independent marketing organization located in Uncasville, CT. The company is a network of agencies around the country marketing life insurance, retirement planning, and investments, and generated over $10 million in sales the first year. As he describes it, he is “building a group of affiliates to sell the products of a growing list of several life insurance companies he has confidence in.” Family First Life is now represented by over 6,000 licensed agents in almost all 50 states, and has eight full-time staff members at its corporate office. After five years of continuous growth, Family First Life is positioned to finish 2018 with over $175 million dollars in paid life and annuity business. In 2019, the company is projected to reach over $200 million dollars in sales.

    With the company growing rapidly and with his abiding desire to give back, Mr. Meaike launched the Family First Life Scholarship in 2014, which has since been endowed with his ongoing contributions. The scholarship is aimed at students from New London County, preferably from Montville, in good academic standing and demonstrating financial need.

    In addition to his success with Family First Life, Mr. Meaike has recently launched a waste management company, CT Affordable Waste.  Since launching operations in August of 2018, the company has been thriving, providing Connecticut local businesses, commercial businesses, and residential homes with an easier and more affordable way of completing their renovating tasks.


    Mr. Meaike currently resides in Niantic with his wife Karen and their four kids. His daughter, Savannah, is a senior at Norwich Free Academy and is currently applying to colleges. Eastern is her first choice, a decision that gives her father great pride.


  • James Girard '97, Anne Iezzi '79 and Andrew Mitchel '89 were inducted into Eastern's Fellows Program. They held a panel discussion with students on the Eastern campus in September.

    Jim Girard '97 - Business Administration
    Jim Girard currently serves as Vice President, Human Resources, Harris Corporation - a global technology company headquartered in Central Florida with approximately 17,000 employees worldwide, customers in more than 100 countries, and annual revenue of some $6 billion. In this role, Girard is responsible for directing the company's industrial relations, talent management, compensation, benefits, and HR systems functions.

    Girard joined Harris in 2014 as the HR vice president responsible for Harris' government communications systems segment. Prior to joining Harris, Girard had an extensive and diversified twenty-year tenure in human resources with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) - working in four unique business units, spanning both commercial and aerospace pursuits.

    Girard's career in HR was initiated while he was still a student. He first attended Three Rivers Community College, then completed his undergraduate education at Eastern - while he was working part-time at Pratt & Whitney, in HR systems. He successfully balanced educational and professional priorities and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Business Administration in 1997. He subsequently earned his master's degree in management through the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute program in Hartford.

    Joining Pratt and Whitney in 1995 as a part-time employee, Girard advanced to hold many diverse roles within the HR function of this Fortune 50 company. Beginning at Pratt and Whitney, Girard progressed to hold leadership roles at UTC Power, the then-newly-launched UTC Fire & Security - including a three-year assignment in the United Kingdom - and a position at UTC's corporate office supervising its talent management, talent acquisition, succession planning, and executive development activities as well as merger and acquisition support. Immediately prior to joining Harris, Girard served as Vice President, Human Resources, in Sikorsky Aircraft's operations organization (at the time a part of UTC).

    Girard is also a national board member and the current chair of the Finance Committee of INROADS, the nation's largest non-profit source of paid internships for diverse, high-performing, undergraduate students. Girard, his wife Lisa, and their two boys live in Rockledge, FL. His mother-in-law, the late Linda Alapi Juras, received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Eastern, taught at Lyme Consolidated School for 35 years, and was once honored as Connecticut's Teacher of the Year. He and Lisa founded the Linda Alapi Juras Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Early Childhood and Elementary Education majors at Eastern in 2014.

    Anne Iezzi '79 - Sociology and Applied Social Relations
    Anne Iezzi is currently Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for The Retirement Services Division at Voya Financial. Voya Financial, Inc. helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings to get ready to retire better. Serving approximately 13.6 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2016. In her role as Chief Compliance Officer, Iezzi is responsible for the compliance function for The Retirement businesses including Corporate Markets, Government and Tax-Exempt Markets and the Individual Markets including Voya's Wholesale Broker Dealers.

    Before joining Voya, Iezzi enjoyed a 27-year career at The Hartford Financial Services Group. In her most recent role at The Hartford she was the Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer of the Global Annuity & Retirement businesses in the Wealth Management Division.

    She joined The Hartford in the mid-1980s as a multi-line claim representative in the Property Casualty Claims Organization, becoming a specialist in arson property claims and discovering she liked the litigation and investigation work. She spent 18 years in the claim organization, advancing in roles of increasing responsibility. Shortly before she graduated cum laude from the Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2003, she transitioned to the Group Benefits Division of The Hartford Life Company, where she built and led the compliance organization for 10 years before retiring from The Hartford. That span included her joining the Investment Products Division as the Chief Compliance Officer in 2005, where she created a ground-up compliance organization to support regulatory compliance issues impacting investment and retirement products, including internationally.

    Prior to entering the corporate world, Iezzi was a teacher for six years. After graduating from Eastern in 1979 with a major in Sociology & Applied Social Relations and a second concentration in History, she taught those subjects at St. Mary's High School in New Haven.

    In addition, Iezzi served on the Leadership Team of The Hartford's Professional Women's Network (PWN). She is now co-chair of the Board of Community Partners at Voya and is a member of the Board of Directors for Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut. She also holds three professional certifications.

    Andrew Mitchel '89 - Economics
    Andrew Mitchel is an international tax attorney with more than 28 years of tax experience. He advises businesses and individuals on a wide variety of cross-border transactions.

    After graduating from high school in 1981, Mitchel spent four years in the Marine Corps as a Stinger Gunner. During his years in the Marines, he traveled extensively throughout the Far East.

    After graduating from Eastern in 1989, summa cum laude, Mitchel worked as a tax accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co., then the largest accounting firm in the world. He obtained his CPA license in 1993. In that same year, he started working for United Technologies Corporation as a Senior International Tax Specialist. In 1994, he began attending UConn Law School at night, while continuing to work full time at UTC.

    After graduating from UConn Law School in 1998, Mitchel took a job at PepsiCo, Inc. in New York, as a Senior Manager Tax Planning. Again attending school nights, he earned his Master's in Law (LL.M.) in Taxation from the New York University School of Law. Following more than five years at Pepsi, he started his own law firm in the town where he grew up, Essex, focusing on the U.S. taxation of cross-border transactions. His clients are spread around the world and include businesses and individuals with activities in more than one country. Mitchel is a member of the International Fiscal Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is a frequent speaker on U.S. international tax matters.

  • With President Núñez, the ninth class of Eastern Fellows are Andrew Zlotnick '85, Tracey Boyden '89 and Cynthia Konney '77

    Tracey Boyden '89 - B.S., Biology
    As a principal scientist at Pfizer Inc, Tracey Boyden has contributed to the development and regulatory submission of numerous drug therapies to treat a variety of diseases from cancer to neurological disorders. She holds several U.S. patents as part of her employment, as well as being an author of several journal articles and a text book chapter on peptidomimetics. Some of her key research includes providing preclinical pharmacokinetic analyses and drug disposition studies for several marketed products, preclinical regulatory submission packages for numerous first-in-human clinical studies and New Drug Applications, and nasal drug delivery as a means to circumvent the blood-brain barrier. Her role at Pfizer has also expanded to allow her to tap into a passion that blossomed while at Eastern, where she is able to teach talent development classes and work with management teams to retain key talent within their organizations. In addition to her research role at Pfizer, Boyden is also an active member of the ECSU Foundation Board, the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut Campaign Board, and is an active volunteer throughout her church and the community, including her work with therapy dogs.

    She is an alum of Norwich Free Academy and after graduating from the Honors Program in Biology with
    a minor in Secondary Education from Eastern in 1989, she worked as a laboratory technician at Dow
    Chemical and shortly afterwards joined Pfizer Inc. She earned her M.S. degree in Biology from
    Brown University in May 2017, after deciding to go back to school once her youngest child went to

    In addition to her work, Boyden is an accomplished athlete who has won several short distance triathlons and bicycling races in her career, culminating with a silver medal for the USA in the 24 hours of Adrenaline Mountain Bicycle World Championship event in Canada in 2000. Tracey and her husband Nate live in Franklin, CT. She is the proud mother of Emmett Schaeffer (graduate of St. Anselm College in NH) and Erin Schaeffer (who graduated from Brown University in May 2017) and in the past has assisted with coaching high school track and field (high jump and long jump) as well as being a proud sponsor parent for 21 United States Coast Guard Academy cadets.

    Cynthia L. Konney '77 - B.S., Environmental Earth Science
    Cindy Konney came to Eastern with an interest in earth science and particularly what happens on
    and below the earth's surface and the relationship of that to the planet's workings. In part her
    interest developed because she had already happened into a job that involved gemstones and precious metals, produced over time well below the earth's surface. That job would eventually lead her to become a nationally recognized expert on those precious stones and jewelry. She followed the path starting in high school because she wanted to earn enough to spend time on the water - in her own boat.

    More than four decades since those beginnings as a high school student, Konney runs a gemological
    business with four offices in three states. She has earned professional certification in gemology and jewelry appraisal from five national professional and educational societies in the business, including the American Gem Society, the Gemological Institute of America and the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. She operates the Connecticut offices of New England Gemological Laboratory & Appraisal Services in Essex and in New Canaan, and will be opening another office in West Hartford in October. Her business's affiliate offices in Newton Center, MA, and Ogunquit, ME are each run by a graduate gemologist and appraiser, each meeting the professional requirements of NEGL. She has a national reputation for her expertise, especially for her knowledge in determining the value of antique jewelry.

    Konney has on occasion been a presenter at the American Gem Society's annual conclave, including a talk on "Love Stories and War Stories of the Appraisal Business" in Boston a few years ago.

    Andrew R. Zlotnick '85 - B.S., Environmental Earth Science
    Andy Zlotnick's career has spanned nearly three decades and is an excellent example of how an undergraduate degree from Eastern, combined with a master's degree in a specialized field, can lead
    to unlimited possibilities.

    Zlotnick is now Senior Vice President with Fuss & O'Neill, a civil and environmental engineering and consulting firm with seven offices, two each in Connecticut and Massachusetts and one each in Rhode Island, South Carolina and California. During his three decades in his profession, he has worked on a large range of investigation and remediation projects, including those involving Superfund sites. He has expertise in brownfield site investigation and remediation for developers, municipalities, and public utility companies. His firm offers a broad range of services in engineering and consulting on environmental matters including hydrogeology, environmental assessment and remediation, civil engineering, water resources, landscape architecture and urban planning. Zlotnick derives satisfaction in meeting challenges through collaborating with clients, regulators, and other stakeholders to develop creative environmental solutions that fulfill the project vision while complying with state and federal regulations. Zlotnick is a Licensed Environmental Professional, a certification he obtained when it was introduced to the profession in 1997.

    Working from the two Connecticut offices in Trumbull and Manchester, Zlotnick leads a team of environmental professionals that provides a broad range of consulting services including environmental site assessments, hyrdogeologic investigations, and remedial planning and design. He also manages the staff in the Trumbull office.

    Zlotnick believes that the Environmental Earth Science program at Eastern provided him an excellent technical foundation and has allowed him and many of his colleagues to be at the forefront of their field. He earned an M.S. in hydrogeology at Wright State University in Ohio in 1992.

    Zlotnick's extensive community service involvement includes serving on the fundraising committee of the Boy Scouts Connecticut Rivers Council and the Technical Advisory Board of Norwalk Community College. He is also a committee chair with the Glastonbury Elks and active with his church, and in the past has coached soccer, basketball and baseball with Glastonbury Youth Sports. He and his wife Janice, parents of a son and a daughter, both in college, live in Glastonbury.

    Click here to view the 2017 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez, the eighth class of Eastern Fellows are Michael Endler '81, Frederick Hughes '87 and Janice Deskus '88

    Janice Deskus '88 - B.A., Psychology
    Since graduating from Eastern in 1988 with a Psychology degree, Janice Deskus has been helping organizations focus on their most valuable resource - their people. Over the course of her career in human resources, she has had the opportunity to implement programs that have positively impacted the job satisfaction of more than 100,000 workers around the globe.

    In her current role as Group Vice President, Human Resources for Medtronic, Deskus oversees global human resources for the company's second largest business, the $10 billion, 30,000-employee Minimally Invasive Therapies Group. Previous to joining Medtronic, Janice managed human resources programs for other large organizations, including insurance giants Aetna and Cigna.

    Inside and outside of the office, Deskus is a strong advocate of expanding diversity and inclusion in the workforce. As a five-year member of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, she worked to foster the confidence, courage and career aspirations of young girls and continues as a tireless supporter of the organization. In addition, Deskus currently serves on the Board of Directors of American Eagle Financial Credit Union, and on its loan advisory and personnel committees.

    On a personal note, Deskus, her husband Chris, and their two boys operate the community garden at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church in her hometown of Willington, which provides produce for the needy. A true family project, the garden was made possible in part thanks to the work of her two sons, Fen, 19, and Nye, 16, who built it and its watering system for their Boy Scouts Eagle Scouts project.

    Michael Endler '81 - B.A., Public Policy and Government
    Michael Endler '81 is one of several dozen Eastern alumni who have gone on to become attorneys since Eastern transitioned from a teachers college to a public liberal arts university. If Mike is not the most accomplished of them, he is certainly in a very small group at the top.

    After distinguishing himself as a Public Policy and Government and Communication student at Eastern, Endler attended law school at Georgetown University. He has since forged a successful career as a top government lawyer and partner in the Albany office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. This national firm is headed by one of the country's most well-known lawyers, David Boies, best known for representing presidential candidate Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and more recently for his work in establishing the constitutional right to marry for gay couples.

    Endler's earlier career included successfully representing the U.S. government as special counsel for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to help the government recover more than $1 billion from the savings and loan scandal of the late 1980s. The case involved the infamous "junk bond" dealer Michael Milken and his firm Drexel Lambert. Endler currently specializes in complex commercial litigation, generally involving antitrust, banking, securities and commercial real estate issues.

    In recent years, he has renewed his ties to Eastern. In 2011, Endler appeared as a panelist at an on-campus event hosted by the University's Pre-Law Society, a group helping guide Eastern students considering legal careers. He has also led the effort to build the Class of 1981 Scholarship.

    Endler and his wife Lise Hafner, a freelance photographer, and their two children live in Loudonville, NY. His son Jeffrey, 17, is a senior in high school, and his daughter Katherine, 13, is an eighth grader. Mike is a 10-year board member and past president of Woodland Hill Montessori School, and a trustee of the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Bromley Outing Club.

    Frederick Hughes '87 - B.S., Business Administration
    A partner with BlumShapiro, the largest accounting, tax and business consulting firm based in New England, Fred Hughes is a veteran of more than 25 years in the accounting profession. He graduated in 1987 with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Accounting, and is a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner. An active supporter of his alma mater, Hughes is also chairman of Eastern's Business Department Advisory Board, and a regular guest at the annual spring Accounting Society Dinner, where he represents BlumShapiro in awarding a scholarship from the firm to at least one accounting major. In addition, he spends time on campus interviewing and recruiting Eastern students, and over the past 10 years has hired 20 Eastern graduates.

    As a partner at BlumShapiro, Hughes provides audit and consulting services to a variety of clients, including higher education institutions, municipalities, general and trade contractors, and state agencies. He also provides expert testimony and has issued expert reports for submission to the American Arbitration Association and various other proceedings. Hughes is also head of BlumShapiro's Audit Department, responsible for managing such operations as budgeting, personnel and profitability.

    A significant amount of his time is dedicated to providing claims analysis of major construction projects to the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation. He has provided similar services to other state agencies, among them the State of Connecticut Department of Construction Services, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the City of New York Law Department, as well as private organizations. Another key aspect of Hughes' work is serving as partner in charge of developing financial reporting systems for school building projects in a number of cities and towns representing seven of Connecticut's eight counties.

    Hughes' wife Ginny is also a 1987 Business Administration graduate of Eastern and a CPA; she works for the firm of Mark D. Alliod, CPA & Associates of Vernon. They are the proud parents of a son and a daughter. Alex is a sophomore at Northeastern University and Katie is a freshman at the Boston Conservatory of Music.

    Click here to view the 2016 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez, the seventh class of Eastern Fellows are David Whitehead ’84, Brian Bohling ’83 and Michael Johnson ’97

    Brian Bohling ’83 

    “People that like what they do are really good at it.  And people that do what they do because they have to get a pay check, are okay at it.  If you can find something that you really like to do, you’re going to be really good at it…and people are going to notice.”

    After advancing to the highest levels of human resource management over a 29-year career in the corporate world, Brian Bohling used his vast experience to launch his own business five years ago — Pine Valley Resources in Mount Laurel, NJ — where he recruits and coaches rising young executives for the corporate sector.

    Just prior to launching Pine Valley in 2009, Bohling worked for six years as senior vice president for human resources for the Hess Corp., a global energy company with more than $40 billion in annual revenue. At Hess, he was responsible for nearly 16,000 employees in 27 countries. Bohling’s résumé also includes high level human resources management positions at Trane, Campbell Soup and Honeywell. After graduating from Eastern in 1983, he launched his career at General Electric, advancing upwards through the human resources ranks during a tenure of almost 10 years under the leadership of CEO Jack Welch.

    Bohling’s career path crystallized during his time as a Business Administration student at Eastern, with a concentration in human resources. He said he started Pine Valley to focus on the key areas of human resources development that he enjoyed most as a corporate executive. His firm limits executive searches to 36 per year to provide each client with personalized service. While working with and coaching new executives he has placed for up to a year to ensure their successful assimilation, Bohling also guarantees his placements for up to a year.

    He also served on the Business Advisory Council of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University of Ohio. Bohling and his wife Jennifer are the parents of a son and three daughters, and reside in Moorestown, NJ.

    Michael Johnson ’97 

    “Father Larry was terrific in terms of being a mentor and roll model.”

    Dr. Michael Johnson accumulated a host of honors as a Biology major at Eastern, and has continued that level of excellence as one of the best oral surgeons in Connecticut.

    Johnson was a student in Eastern’s Honors Program, and was inducted into the Beta Beta Beta Biology honor society. He also received two academic scholarships while at Eastern.

    As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a partner in Hamden-Shoreline OMS Associates, Johnson sees patients privately on a part-time schedule. He has appeared on Connecticut Magazine’s annual list of Top Dentists in Connecticut for the past seven consecutive years.

    In between his highly honored academic years at Eastern and recognition for his professional excellence, Johnson also earned dean’s distinction and was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dental Medicine. He did his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St. Raphael in Association with the Yale University School of Medicine.

    Johnson teaches full time at Yale-New Haven Hospital on topics ranging from maxillofacial bone grafting for dental implants to head and neck infections, anesthesia and surgical management of medically complex patients. He also is the program director of the oral and maxillofacial surgery residency training program. Reflecting the standards Johnson has established throughout his career, his teaching at Yale-New Haven was honored with the Bernard Levine Teacher of the Year Award.

    All this, and Johnson has yet to turn 40! He and his wife Amy, a 1998 Psychology graduate of Eastern, and their three children live in Guilford.

    David Whitehead ’84 

    “Sometimes mentors just happen to fall to you, but I would say, be a little more proactive and look for the mentors that are here on campus.  Not only will it help you here, but it becomes a relationship that you take throughout your entire life.”

    For most people, “coming home” means moving back to the community they grew up in. For David Whitehead, coming home literally meant returning to his birthplace — William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich — as the president and CEO. Raised in Norwich and a graduate of Norwich Free Academy, Whitehead majored in Business Administration at Eastern Connecticut State University.

    A successful career path has brought Whitehead back to Norwich, where he leads the hospital where he was born. Whitehead is also the CEO of Windham Hospital and oversees several outpatient and ambulatory centers in eastern Connecticut as senior vice president of Hartford HealthCare and
    president of the health organization’s eastern Connecticut operations.

    Early in his career, Whitehead worked at Electric Boat in Groton before becoming the director of human resources for the Norwich Bulletin in 1989. He then moved to Ohio to become the president and publisher of another Gannett newspaper in Marietta. Whitehead and his family missed Connecticut, though, and he jumped at the chance to return to Norwich to become the publisher of the Bulletin in 1996.

    In 1999, Whitehead joined Backus Hospital as vice president of corporate communications, becoming vice president for planning in 2003 before being elevated to the position of president and CEO in 2009. He assumed his current role at Hartford HealthCare in 2013.

    Along the way Whitehead has earned two master’s degrees at the University of New Haven in Health Care Administration and Labor Relations. He is chairman of the board of NFA, a member of the ECSU Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors, and was named Eastern Connecticut Citizen of the Year in 2003.

    David and his wife Tara, also an Eastern graduate, are the parents of three sons and two daughters.

    Click here to view the 2015 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez, the sixth class of Eastern Fellows are William Kelly ’82 and Dr. Robert Hacker ’86

    Dr. Robert Hacker ’86 – B.S., Biology

    “Be present.  Look around at everything that’s being offered to you.  Be creative when you’re putting together your course schedule.  Read about subjects that you never thought you’d be interested in.”

    In addition to forging a successful general dentistry practice in Branford over nearly a quarter century, Dr. Robert Hacker does some very special volunteer work on the side. He travels to Ecuador on an annual basis to provide free dental work for poor children there. His daughter Maria, now 20, the oldest of his children with wife Ann, also a 1986 Eastern graduate, now assists him on these special missions.

    Both Robert and the former Ann DeVito are 1986 Biology graduates of Eastern, and supporters of the Biology program here. Robert went from Eastern to the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, where he earned his Doctor or Medical Dentistry degree. He has been a dentist for 23 years, and is one of three dentists with Branford Dental Care, a general practice. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Connecticut State Dental Association and the Branford Chamber of Commerce.

    “To me, being a dentist is more than filling cavities. It’s about improving the smiles and lives of my patients,” he says. “Above all, I treat each patient like a member of my family.”

    William Kelly ’82 – B.A., Economics and Public Policy & Government

    “Have the highest standards and expectations for yourselves…  There is no substitute for hard work.”

    In a dual upper management role for Bank New York Mellon involving international investment, Bill Kelly oversees a financial portfolio that even the folks in the government in Washington would consider “real money.” As Deputy Director of Securities Lending for the worldwide banking giant, he is responsible for $300 billion of business activity. In his related job of Global Head of Client Management, he makes sure the various national central banks, pension funds, foundations and endowments, financial institutions and other major institutional investors that are the bank’s clients are satisfied customers.

    Bill gives much of the credit for advancing his career to where it is today to his choice of Eastern. A Public Policy and Government major, he met his wife, 1982 classmate Elizabeth Kelly, here, but his gratitude to Eastern extends beyond that. “I feel strongly that my experience at Eastern, through my good fortune of the people I was able to meet and that influenced me, has left a lasting impression on me,” he said.

    Bill and his brother John Kelly ’84 were key players on the Eastern soccer teams of the early 1980s, and have been key supporters of men’s soccer program in recent years.

    Click here to view the 2014 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez, members of the fifth class of Eastern Fellows are, Kathe Kennedy ’74 and Kathy Gentilozzi ’81

    Kathy Gentilozzi ’81 – B.S., Educational Studies

    “Even though I didn’t get to do what I thought I was going to do, I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything.”
    Like so many students over the years, Kathy Gentilozzi came to Eastern planning to become a teacher and make a career in education.

    When she graduated in 1981, however, student enrollment was down and there were virtually no jobs in Connecticut for new teachers. She did some substitute teaching, but she also took a part-time job in retail at The Limited. Management liked her, and she moved into management with The Limited. Her career then took off and she moved into human resources management.

    In 1984, Gentilozzi was recruited by the May Company, a large national retail merchandising chain, working in stores, merchandising and human resource management positions at various locations. From 2001 to 2006 she was Vice President of Human Resources for the company in its St. Louis headquarters. After Federated Department Stores purchased May, she then served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Macy’s Midwest from 2006 to 2008, also in St. Louis. In 2008 she assumed her current position as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for specialty clothing retailer Aeropostale, working from the company’s Manhattan headquarters.

    In her current position, Gentilozzi is responsible for all recruitment, development, benefits and employee relations for Aeropostale. The company has over 1,000 stores and 25,000 employees, including part-timers who represent about 80% of its employee base working in the stores. She has nearly 40 employees reporting to her in the corporate offices. Gentilozzi takes pride in the fact that since she has joined Aeropostale she and her team have created career development and training programs to motivate and engage their employees across all levels. In 2011 and 2013 Aeropostale was named one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work.

    Kathy also serves as Vice President of the board of Aero Cares, which provides grants to company employees undergoing severe financial hardship and is entirely funded by employees.

    Gentilozzi and her husband, Mark, who met at Eastern, live in Fairfield, CT and are the parents of two daughters and a son. Their daughter Kristina is a 2009 Villanova University graduate, and their son, Andrew, and younger daughter, Sara, will graduate this year from the University of Maine and Quinnipiac University respectively.

    Kathleen Kennedy ’74 – B.A., Sociology and Applied Social Relations

    “You have to swallow your pride sometimes.  You can either get defensive about making mistakes, or you can… say I’m sorry, it was my fault, it won’t happen again.”

    Kathe Kennedy’s career in human resources management evolved organically from her course of study at Eastern and the work she did immediately afterward as both a graduate student and employee of Columbia University.

    Kennedy graduated in 1974 with a B.A. in Sociology and Applied Social Relations and, encouraged by Eastern administrative leader Betty Tipton and Sociology Professor Jean Thoresen, went on to graduate school to earn a master’s in Counseling Psychology in 1976. She stayed on at Barnard, Columbia’s women’s college, to work in career counseling and, in the process, earned a second Columbia master’s in Education. She is also a graduate of the University of Michigan Business School’s executive program in Strategic Human Resources.

    She continued her career in counseling and career services at Hofstra Law School and the NYU School of Business, but in 1987 moved into recruiting and human resources for the financial sector with a vice presidency at Paine Webber. Since that time she has worked in increasingly responsible positions at Chase Manhattan Bank, Merrill Lynch & Co., Goldman Sachs, Zurich Capital Markets and Virgin Mobile USA. Since 2006 she has been with UBS Financial Services, where she is now Executive Director, Americas Head – Talent Acquistion, supporting the Investment Bank, Wealth Management, Asset Management and Corporate Center businesses in the United States.

    Kennedy works from three offices for the international investment and financial services giant – in Weehawken, NJ, New York City and Stamford, CT – managing a combined 50 recruitment and human resources professionals in those locations. Highlights of her time with UBS include transitioning the team from corporate recruiters to agency-trained/ executive search professionals; reducing recruiting costs nearly 90% through various initiatives and cost cutting steps; serving as the U.S. representative for many global HR projects; and establishing a branded candidate interview center to help the company raise its recruiting profile.

    Her civic activities include a six-year stint on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and serving as Chair of the Career Advisory Committee for Bucknell University’s Parents Board of Directors.

    Kennedy enjoys travel, cooking, music and theater. She is the mother of two daughters and a son, all of whom are pursuing professional careers. She and her husband, Stewart Zager, live in Morristown, NJ.

    Click here to view the 2013 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez, members of the fourth class of Eastern Fellows are, left to right, Tim White ’81, Carla Goodwin ’69, Wendy Daly ’75

    Wendy Daly ’75 – B.A., Psychology

    “When those windows of opportunity open, jump and accept them… Trust your instincts, gather the courage, go forward, and take the risk.”

    Recognized in her hometown of Louisville, KY, as one of its leading pediatricians, Wendy Daly is President/CEO and one of four physicians at the Brownsboro Park Pediatrics in that city. Daly is also associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Louisville, teaching residents, interns, medical students and nurse practitioner students at the school where she earned her own medical degree, and is principal investigator for a research clinic, conducting trials on potential new drugs.

    Daly has been recognized four times as one of Louisville Magazine’s “Top Docs,” selected in polling in the city’s physicians. She was also the first recipient of the Easter Seals Center of Louisville Lily Award in 2001 for service to handicapped children.

    A 1969 graduate of Norwich Free Academy, Daly chose to attend nursing school at Hartford Hospital and became a registered nurse. She found that her specialized education left her feeling intellectually inadequate and decided to add a college degree. Her nursing education allowed her to test out of some requirements, and she was able to finish her degree at Eastern in two years.

    While attending the University of Louisville Medical School, Daly’s first son was born at the end of her junior year, and she chose pediatrics because she found she loved caring for children.

    Carla Goodwin ’69 – B.S., Elementary Education

    “Don’t put yourself in a box.  Do anything and everything… that comes your way.  You will never know how it will shape you.

    A psychologist with a private practice in Massachusetts that she established more than 30 years ago, Carla Goodwin is also a forensic psychologist who has played a major role in shaping public policy in domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect and other public interest concerns in Massachusetts, Connecticut and across the nation. She serves as commissioner and chairman of the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission, having been appointed and reappointed to that agency by the past four governors of the state. She also served on a legislative commission in Massachusetts to develop legislative guidelines for domestic abuse laws, has provided testimony to probate courts in Connecticut on establishing mediation practices, and has testified on domestic abuse before a Joint Committee of the U. S. Congress.

    After graduating in Elementary Education from Eastern in 1969, she taught fifth grade and served as a guidance counselor, but had already developed an interest in her current field. She earned an M.S. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Bridgeport in 1970 and later completed a Ph.D. in Human Services. She has also attained hundreds of hours of continuing education and training in her areas of specialization, much of it at Harvard Medical School.

    In addition to her work at her private practice, Forum for New Directions in South Easton, MA, Goodwin is an investigator and expert witness in Massachusetts district and county courts.

    Tim White ’81 – B.S., Earth Science

    “The door is only open sometimes for a few seconds.  Seize that moment.”

    Now director of collections and operations at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, Tim White has traveled the world to pursue research in paleontology and museum collection management and to make presentations at professional conferences in his nearly three decades with the museum. He currently holds a senior position at the Peabody, with about 50 professionals and staff reporting to him. He has published more than 40 peer reviewed papers and two books on subjects that range from Cambrian paleobiology to museum administration and cultural heritage.

    The nephew of one the founders of Eastern’s Environmental Earth Science major and department here — the late Ray Smith — White developed a specialty in paleontology in graduate studies. He was hired as the first collections manager for invertebrate paleontology at the Peabody, one of the top three collections of invertebrate fossils in the world. In his current position, he oversees 11 curatorial divisions and the Museum’s archives with a combined collection of some 13 million specimens and artifacts.

    Click here to view the 2012 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez are members of the third class of Eastern Fellows, left to right, Robert Nieto '96, Carol Pandiscia '89, and Paul Provost '97

    Rob Nieto '96 - B.S., Magna Cum Laude, Communication

    Now Senior Open Producer for the nightly CBS show Inside Edition with Deborah Norville, Rob Nieto has been producing the show since 2004, and has successfully reported, produced and edited in television for more than a decade. Nieto has a broad knowledge basis in television journalism, with specialties including technology, business, investigative research and entertainment news. He held other television production jobs and was an on-camera reporter for a South Carolina television station before becoming a producer at Inside Edition and being promoted to his current position last year.

    Nieto came to Eastern after nine years of distinguished service as U.S. Navy submariner. He was a Sonar Supervisor, and was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal for his performance.

    He has also been honored with several journalism awards since graduating with high honors from Eastern. Nieto is a member of several professional organizations, and he speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently. Among many former colleagues and associates who have praised Nieto's professionalism, one said, "Rob approached every assignment with gusto. Not only did his creative ideas and dedication to excellence enrich the on-air product, his terrific attitude always lifted the spirits of his team members."

    A graduate of Fort Lee (NJ) High School, Rob now lives with his wife Kristin and children in Kinnelon, NJ.

    Carol Pandiscia '89 - B.S., Communication
    Carol Pandiscia was named Senior Vice President, Technology Program Management and Business Planning, for ESPN in Bristol in November 2006. She is responsible for aligning technology and business units to develop technology roadmaps that meet strategic, tactical and operational business objectives. She leads the program and project management office, business systems analysis, budget administration, operations and technology communications.

    Her elevation to her current senior position represented her fifth promotion since joining ESPN as a coordinator in the commercial operations department in 1990. In her most recent prior role, Pandiscia served as Vice President, Commercial Operations, responsible for the delivery of ESPN's daily program and commercial logs, upholding brand standards related to on-air commercial posts and managing partnerships with advertising agencies, leagues, program suppliers and vendors.

    In addition to her primary executive responsibilities, Pandiscia is a member of ESPN's mentoring advisory team and of ESPN Enabled, an employee resource group, and sits on the company's diversity council. She is a member of the Women in Cable Telecommunications New England Chapter and a Betsy Magness Fellow of WICT, which honors a highly regarded pioneer in the telecommunications industry in the 1960s and 1970s who was cofounder of the early cable giant TCI.

    Pandiscia is a current member of the ECSU Foundation's Board of Directors. She is a health and wellness devotee who combines road and trail running, weight lifting and yoga in her regular exercise regimen. She has also recently become an avid golfer. She is a native and current resident of East Hartford.

    Paul Provost '97 - B.S., Political Science
    President and Publisher of The Bulletin of Norwich since 2009, Paul Provost has spent most of his career in the newspaper business, and most of that at The Bulletin. He now pilots a relatively healthy small daily newspaper as it navigates troubled waters in the age of electronic media, the overall downtown in the economy and other factors that have undermined and eliminated many print publications in the past decade. The Bulletin is owned by Gatehouse Media, a print media company that publishes numerous small daily and weekly newspapers and shoppers across the country, especially in the Northeast and Midwest.

    A native of Baltic, Provost has spent most his life in Southeastern Connecticut except for service in the U. S. Army, where he completed the Military Police School and served as an M.P. Following Army service and his graduation from Eastern with a degree in political science, he worked briefly as a political consultant. He then served as retail advertising manager for the Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal before returning to this area to take the same position with The Bulletin. He became Advertising Director in 2005 and was in that role when he was named to his current position leading the newspaper. In 2007, he was named one of 20 newspaper industry leaders under 40 by Presstime magazine, a publication of the Newspaper Association of America.

    Provost lives in Colchester with his wife Nektaria and three sons, and coaches youth sports. He is also active in several area business and service organizations. Note: Provost is currently Regional VP for First Digital Media. In 2015 Paul was named Publisher of the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, MA.

    Click here to view the 2011 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion


  • With President Núñez are members of the second class of Eastern Fellows, left to right, Jeffrey N. Brown '79, Kathleen E. Weidman '79, and Brett M. Harnett '84

    Jeffrey Brown '79 - B.A., Public Policy and Government

    In his extensive career in banking, Jeffrey Brown has advanced to the position of Chief Administrative Officer for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation. His responsibilities at Webster include overseeing the bank's operations, strategic planning, communications, public affairs, human resources and information technology functions. He is also a member of the corporation's Executive Management Committee, and President of the bank's Harold Webster Smith Foundation.

    Founded during the Great Depression to help people build and buy their homes, Webster Bank is today one of the nation's leading commercial banks, with more than $17 million in assets. Brown joined Webster's management team in 1996. His previous banking experience included several senior management positions with Fleet Financial Group.

    In outside professional affiliations, Brown has served as chairman of the American Bankers Association and Vice Chairman of the Connecticut Economic Resources Center. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights and the boards of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Glastonbury Education Foundation. Since 2015, Jeff has served as the Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer for the Newman's Own Foundation.

    Brett Harnett '84 - B.S., Business Administration

    Brett Harnett majored in business at Eastern, but his real calling became the innovation of highly sophisticated medical technology applications to make medicine better. His contributions to the field of medicine range from creating state-of-the-art surgical devices to improving medical record keeping and data collection. He is an innovator and the leader of a team of medical technology pioneers, and for the last few years has served as Research Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Surgical Innovation and the Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati. His expertise and focus include the area of medical robotics.

    Prior to working at the University of Cincinnati, Harnett was with the NASA Medical Informatics and Technology Applications Consortium at Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia, where he served as system designer and flight participant for virtual reality surgical simulations studies onboard NASA's KC 135 microgravity lab.

    Harnett has written or co-authored numerous articles on robotic surgical techniques and other telemedicine topics for medical technology journals, textbooks and abstracts, and is a frequent speaker at symposia, professional conferences and NASA gatherings. His work has taken him to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Russia, and has been recognized by the Kosovo Foundation for Medical Development and Moscow State Medical University.

    Kathleen Weidman '79 - B.A., Economics and Business Administration

    If your business needs some short term accounting help, you can get a CPA on a temporary basis from Accountemps. But if you need someone to step in and run your company as a fill-in CEO to fix its problems or get revenues built back up, where could you possibly go for that?

    For more than a decade, you could turn to Eastern graduate Kathleen Weidman and her consulting firm, Moonbeam Group, LLC. If you hired Moonbeam, you could have Weidman come in and run your company for anywhere from a couple of months to a year and a half and stabilize its operation, or perhaps save it from extinction. In recent years, she stepped into four companies and increased their revenues dramatically as a temporary CEO. In two of those situations, she secured acquisition offers for the companies.

    Weidman is currently president on a permanent basis of another company, Bright Systems, a specialist in the preservation and retrieval of large-scale electronic files in the media recording technology field. All of this makes her schedule very interesting. You have heard of commuter marriages across state lines. Hers is between two continents and eight time zones, from her home in London, where her husband works in his field, to Reno, NV and the Bright Systems headquarters.

    Her earlier career included stops with Wang and the Alsys Group in Massachusetts, where she was promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer and had her first experience orchestrating the favorable acquisition of a company, by the French company Thompson CFS.

    Click here to view the 2010 Eastern Fellows Panel Discussion

  • With President Núñez, members of the first class of Eastern Fellows are, left to right, Dr. Wendy Ernst '93, Frederick Johnson '78, Eric Lazo-Wasem '79 and Adam Baldinger '88.

    The first class of Eastern Fellows was recognized on the day before the Science Center dedication on October 21, 2008.Four alumni who excelled in the sciences were recognized: Adam Baldinger '88 (Biology), Dr. Wendy Ernst '93, DVM (Biology), Fred Johnson '78 (EES), Eric Lazo-Wasem '79 (Biology).

    Long term the Eastern Fellows can serve as a sounding board for the President on critical issues and trends pertaining to higher education. They can be convened at the discretion of the President.

    Adam Baldinger '88 - B.S., Biology

    This Wellesley, MA resident began his career as a Curatorial Assistant with the California Academy of Sciences in 1991. Since 1997 he has been working as the Curatorial Associate in the Department of Malcology with Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology. This past year Baldinger took on the additional role of Curatorial Associate for the Department of Invertebrate Zoology. As Curatorial Associate, Baldinger manages and oversees some of the most historically significant and biologically diverse natural history collections in the world.

    Throughout his career, much of Baldinger's research has focused on the taxonomy and systematics of amphipods, small shrimp-like crustaceans. He has published and presented much of his research and belongs to several professional societies, including the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the American Malacological Society.

    Baldinger is an adjunct faculty member with the Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Framingham State College. He has a four-year-old at home that keeps him busy and has joined his son at school for "show and tell", presenting specimens from the museum.

    Wendy Ernst '93 - B.S., Biology

    A Coventry resident, Ernst has been working as a Veterinarian since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University in 2001. A Veterinary Small Animal Medical and Surgical Internship with the Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut completed Ernst's graduate training and in July of 2002 she began her career working at the North Windham Animal Hospital. Last year she moved to the Meadow Hill Veterinary Shoppe in Lebanon where she works primarily with companion animals and occasionally performs large animal work with cattle. She has a special interest in canine reproduction and is a member of the Society for Theriogenology, a group of Veterinarians dedicated to animal reproduction.

    Outside of her regular veterinary work, Ernst works with the Newfoundland Club of New England's rescue organization, providing veterinary care for the rescue dogs. She has also been involved with purebred dogs since 1992, breeding and training Labrador Retrievers. The dogs are trained to compete in conformation shows, obedience trials, and hunting events.

    Frederick Johnson '78 - B.A., Environmental Earth Sciences

    Since 2000 this Coventry resident has worked as the Senior Vice President, Atlantic Regional Manager for GEI Consultants, Inc. in Glastonbury. In this capacity he manages a four-office region with 60 professionals for a national environmental, geotechnical and water resource engineering consulting company. The division has grown over the past four years from one core office to four, and Johnson was responsible for the division diversifying into geotechnical and water resource engineering. He also serves on the Board of Directors, chairs the compensation committee and participates in the strategic planning committee.

    Prior to coming to work for GEI Consultants, Johnson served as Director of Environmental Programs for United Technologies Corp. and then Pratt and Whitney. Currently he is a member of the Board of Directors of the New England Environmental Business Council and co-chair of the Connecticut chapter of the EBC.

    Outside of work, Johnson is a member of the advisory council of the Connecticut Envirothon, a program that uses education and team competition to promote environmental awareness, knowledge, and stewardship among Connecticut high school students. He also spends time with wife and three teenaged children and enjoys canoeing, camping, hiking and running.

    Eric Lazo-Wasem '79 - B.S., Biology

    As Senior Collections Manager in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, Lazo-Wasem manages the use and activity of the museum's collections. In this position he is constantly learning something new and has become resident historian of the Invertebrate Zoology collection. This Redding local has been part of the Peabody Museum Policy Review Committee and was recently appointed as the coordinator of the Yale Peabody Museum Undergraduate Research Internship Program. Throughout his career at Peabody, Lazo-Wasem has helped secure major grants, including a Collections Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation. He has also served on a variety of committees and was Curator for the In Search of Giant Squid exhibit.

    As a member of the Connecticut Endangered Species Status Review Committee since 1996, Lazo-Wasem was excited to come across Eubranchipus holmani, a tiny species of fairy shrimp, this past spring. The species had not been seen since the 1950s and was thought to be extinct until Lazo-Wasem rediscovered them in a freshwater vernal pool in Groton. He hopes to collect specimens in order to monitor population structures and changes, with the goal of having this rare fairy shrimp listed as an endangered species. 

    Do you know of an Eastern alum who should be listed here? Contact our office.